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Sign Making, Designing, and Installation


Carved Coffee Sign

An Online Guide to Making Signs and Legal Installation

Sign making can be DYI or done by a professional sign maker. You can also create the layout and have your signage made, or you can let the hard work be done by a professional sign company. There are many considerations when it comes to designing signs, but legal considerations when it comes to sizing and placement of signs in most municipalities.

I’ve written several posts wherein I’ve discussed strategies to make your signs and/or banners effective and visible, the securing of sign permits, locating good professional sign companies online, different varieties of signage that can be procured, installation guidelines and where to find them, plus some historical vignettes on how our ancestors began creating and using signs.

How to Create Effective and Visible Signs

There are specific guidelines in creating your signs to ensure visibility and readability when placed or installed outdoors, especially in congested or high speed traffic areas. You’ll need to take into consideration factors including viewing distance from your sign, the angle, the speed of vehicles passing by, etc., in order to determine what size and style of lettering and graphics to ensure that potential customers are able to read your sign(s).

If you want to avoid trial and error to discover whether or not your sign is going to be effective, you might want to check out these topics:

Outdoor Signs – Visibility of Letters, Amount of Copy, & Readability

Part 1: The Science of Outdoor Signs and Banners – Size of letters and quantity of Words in relation to traffic speed and number of lanes.

Part 2: The Science of Outdoor Signs and Banners – How to calculate the letter and Graphic Sizes of outdoor advertising signs and banners.

Part 3: The Science of Outdoor Signs and Banners – How to calculate the negative space and copy area of outdoor signs for best viewer impact.

Part 4: The Science of Outdoor Signs and Banners – How to calculate the area needed for outdoor business signs or banners.

Part 5: The Science of Outdoor Signs and Banners – How to calculate the area of an outdoor sign when placed parallel to the street.

Sign Permit Procurement and Sign Installation

Before having your sign(s) or banners created and manufactured, you’ll need to know whether you will be allowed to install it where you want it, and if any size or placement restrictions exist for your property. You’ll actually want to know this before you lease or purchase a building as well, especially if your new store is a retail outlet.

Most federal, state, county, and municipal regulations require sign permits before installation. While the following articles can’t give you specifics for your sign permitting requirements in your area, they will help you to ask the right questions and find the right sign company to aid you in the process:

Bootleg Signs – Sign Permits – Business Signs on the Interstate

Business Signs – Sign Permits and Installation

Getting a Sign Permit and Right of Way Considerations

How To Install A Sign

Sign Compliancy – Who Can Put Signs on the Interstate

What Signs are Legal and Time Needed to Procure a Permit

Purchasing Signs Online and Offline

In this era of connectivity with the internet, you can purchase signs offline or online. Many online sign vendors can deliver your signs or banners or decals to your door step. The following posts are ideas on how to save money online, and what types of signs are better purchased locally:

Custom Signs – How to Purchase For a Business or Organization

How To Purchase Business Sign Letters

Large Format Poster, Sign, and Banner Printer – Which One to Buy

Frequently Asked Questions about Sign and Banner Making

There are some frequently asked questions I get when it comes to sign making. If you have one, by the way, you can leave your question(s) in the comment form below. Below are some FAQ posts answering common questions regarding various topics to do mostly with signs:

Does Clear Lamination on Outdoor Signs Make them Last Longer

How an Internally Illuminated Cabinet Pole Sign Is Constructed

How Difficult Would It Be to Build a LED Electronic Readerboard?

How To Re-paint a Sign With Recessed or Dimensional Letters

Laminate Letters For Displays – Laminated Letters For Logos

Attracting Potential Clients with Well-designed Advertising Signs

Despite the emergence of fancy digital ads, printed, carved, and hand-made sign displays are still considered highly effective and attractive by many business owners, in contrast to the more generic look of internally illuminated electrical or digital signs. These more traditional signs may also be effective for attracting potential clients because they transmit the subconscious feeling that a store with fine signage will also have higher quality merchandise.

Learn below how you can draw the attention of your target clients through variable types of signage:

How Important are Interior/Exterior Full Color Graphics and Signs When it Comes to Advertising Your Business?

Outdoor Signs Point Your Way to Potential Business Clients

The Role of Office Signs for Business Professionals

What You Need to Know When Designing an Outdoor Sign

Where Vintage Signs Are Being Placed

Why Business Signs Are Relevant in Boosting Your Business

Why Use Banners and Signs at Trade Show Exhibits

Printing By Professional Sign Companies

Sign companies will manufacture signs according to client preference and budgets. With the advance of large format digital printing, many other types of printing are in decline, although there are some companies that still use the more traditional approach such as screen printing. The below articles will help you understand the differences in how signs are created:

Digital Sign Printing Compared To Screen Printing Signs

Full Color Printing from Sign Companies

What a Sign Company Can Do For You

Why Sign Makers and Their Clients Love Digital Printing

How Sign Making Evolved from the “Stone Age” into the 21st Century

The art of signs and sign making came a long way, even before the discovery of electricity and the later innovations that include digital printing and electronic digital advertising. Throughout history, people have discovered innovative methods to create signs.

As time passed into modernity, sign makers adapted to technological changes, utilize new resources, and created more visible sign displays using neon, electricity, digital printing, and digital LED technology.  Read the following posts about the evolution of printing and sign making from antiquity to modernity:

Part One of the History of Sign Makers

Part 2 of the History of Sign Makers and Sign Making

Part 3 History of Signs and Printing from Papyrus to Gutenberg

Part 4 of The History of Signs and Graphic Printing

Part 5 – History of Custom Signs and Printing in the 21st Century 

The History and Evolution of Printing Signs

This is an interesting and more specific discussion on the incorporation of printing in sign making – this would also include banners as a type of sign. In ancient times, signs were limited to using rocks, carved woods, and whatever other materials were available in the local region.

In the following posts, you will discover when and how ancient marketing directors slowly incorporated more advanced technology in printing to improve the quality and ease of sign making.

A History of Sign Makers and Sign Making and Sign Printing – Part 1

The History of Electrical Signs: Neon, LED, and Internally Illuminated – Part 2

The History of Printing from Gutenberg to Bullock 1863 – Part 3

History of Printing: Lithography, Offset Printing and Flexographic – Part 4

How the Sign and the Printing Industry Improved Each Other – Part 5

The Different Varieties of Signage

Various types of signs can be used to promote the same message for an organization or business. Aside from the design itself, the materials make it possible to make signs appear unique from one to the other. Here are some of the many varieties of signage you can choose if you’re shopping for new ideas for sign advertising:

Wood Signs

Carved Wood Signs – Why Wooden Carved Signs Are Best

Classic Carved or Sandblasted Wooden Signs

Custom Wood Signs for Business and Residential

Sandblasting Signs – Best Materials to Make a Sandblast Sign

The Custom Wood Sign: Shaping Up the History of Signs

Why Wooden Letters Are Still A Favorite?

Metal and Plaque Signs and Lettering

Available Options for Address Plaques

Cast Metal Plaques Solidify a Good Impression To Probable Clients

Creative Applications for Metal Signs

Durable Metal Signs Fit as Outdoor Guide Markers

Metal Plaques Provide Instant Status

Metal Wall Letters: How to s Purchase Metal Cast Letters Online

The Bronze Plaque Sign and The Aluminum Plaque Sign

The Several Applications of Bronze Plaques

Plastic Signs

Cheap Graphic Sign Prints on Plastic Materials

Practical and Universal Employment of Plastic Signs

The Plastic Signs to Have for Business Establishments

Why Opt For Plastic Sign

Magnetic Signs

Pull Everyone’s Interest With Magnetic Signs

The Application of Magnetic Signs as Graphic Displays

Lawn Signs

Getting the Benefits of Exposing Lawn Signs in Your Area

How You Can Reach Customers Even Just With Lawn Signs

Neon Signs

How Neon Signs Can Light Up Your Business

Neon Signs for Economical Business Advertising


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Barry K. Brown

Barry Brown has been in the Sign, Banner, Decal and Display Business for over 20 years. It isn't what he thought he'd do with his life, but he says he knows too much now to do anything else!

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